Back in the early/mid 2000's, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power put on the Zoo Lights, which was part drive-through light display with just a bit of lights inside the zoo itself.
Fast forward to 2014, and after a 9 year hiatus due to improvements to the Zoo and Griffith Park, the Zoo Lights are back and have certainly been kicked up from their previous incarnation.
We were invited out for opening/media night on Friday and had an absolutely fantastic time.
Since we are no longer exactly "locals" to the Zoo, it had been awhile since we've been to the LA Zoo, but the improvements they've made over the past decade are amazing. We are planning on making a daytime visit to the zoo in the VERY near future.
As we arrived, we had to get a couple of extra tickets and our "Social Media Adviser" and I made our way to the press check in.
There was a "Green Carpet" event, which mostly consisted of Zoo donors, which is a great treat for them. There were a couple of celebs who showed up as well.
A nice trio playing Christmas tunes for the arriving guests.
A nice gift bag was given out featuring a beautiful LA Zoo lights ornament. We'll share what it looks like on our tree when we put it up on Wednesday.
Amanda showing off our gift bag
Lots of tasty food provided by Whole Foods
Some nice tables set up for the invited guests
Former NFL Player Bret Lockett
Pauley Perrette from NCIS
Singer Carly Robyn Green
After the Green Carpet festivities, we made our way to the front of the zoo where LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Concilmember Tom Labonge would flip the switch to turn on the lights.
The Marshall High School Glee Club treated us to a few songs
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti welcomes the crowd and the return of the Zoo Lights. He was much more behaved here than at the LA Kings Championship rally in June. Just giving you a hard time Mayor, we loved that too!!!
Mayor Garcetti, Council Member Tom LaBonge, John Lewis (Director LA Zoo), Connie Morgan (President of the Greater LA Zoo Association), Kait Hillard (VP marketing for GLAZA), John McGuire (Bionic League Lighting Design), Gregg Lacy (Art Director) and some kids from the audience flip the switch.
Monkeys power the whole thing
Animals depicted on the bottom of the tree
Powered by Monkeys, too bad everything isn't that easy
This is pretty much the spot where the old lights ended, as you'll see below, they go FAR beyond this.
Lots of animals depicted here
I want to do this in my yard
Lets head over and check out the Reindeer
Some of them must have been out on errands for Santa
I wish I had the patience to do something this cool
One of my favorite spots in the zoo looks great all lit up
From the other side
Watch out Flaming-O, there's a Croco-gator there!!
Cool christmas trees
It's a disco Christmas!!
Do you see the monkey?
Santa's spot, this would be a great photo spot for a Christmas card.
This was one of the coolest things they had. It was pretty much a light show depicted on some statues of elephants. Think the show that's on Small World at Disneyland.
I wanted to get video of it, but I had literally bought a new camera 6 hours before we were here. Next time!!
The one drawback of this show is that it's not in a very big space as the elephant statues are a permanent thing in the zoo. So it didn't leave much room for watching as it was in the middle of a major walk way.
It would be cool if a similar show could be done next year in a bigger space, as it was REALLY cool.
Idea for recycled water bottles!!
Cool animal laser show
I literally stood here for 5 minutes trying to get a picture of this with nobody in it. This was the best I could do.
♪ I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas ♪
Oh, we are taking the tunnel!!! =)
This was probably my favorite part
A Zebra driving around a Rhinoceros in a car ... something you don't see every day.
Monkeys and Alligators and Flaming-O's, oh my.
Oh, the Zebra is going to run them over because they are on his red carpet. =)
The Hollywood Bowl.
We totally forgot we were actually at the zoo for awhile, but this reminder is there so the Animals can get their rest
Overall, the entire event is really well done. At a gate price of only $13 it's truly a great night of family fun.
The entire event will probably take you 60-90 minutes, a bit longer if you want to see Santa (as the line was HUGE) but this event is HIGHLY recommended.
For more info on the LA Zoo Lights click the link and be sure to check out online deals as tickets can be found for around $8 if you buy them early.
Be sure to get tickets ASAP, as the event did sell out every night last weekend.